Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told investors they probably won’t see augmented reality technology from Apple for at least 1-2 years, but to expect the company to “leapfrog” competitors by 3-5 years once they finally enter the market. Kuo doesn’t provide specifics, but said he foresees Apple integrating AR to “redefine key product lines” and change the way people use devices like the Apple TV and Apple Watch. Kuo also considered the possibility that Apple could use AR innovations to break into new areas, specifically autonomous driving systems like the one being developed by the company’s Project Titan team. [via Apple Insider]
An app designed to alert residents of New York City to crimes being committed has been pulled from the App Store, The Guardian reports. In a blog post about launching the Vigilante app, parent company Sp0n said it monitors crimes reported to 911 and alerts nearby users so they can get to safety or film crimes as they unfold. But the app didn’t last long on the App Store, with Apple citing concerns about its content, according to the app’s creator. While Sp0n claims “the closed system excludes the community while the open system informs and empowers citizens,” it’s easy to see how encouraging average citizens to get involved in investigating or stopping suspected crimes could be problematic. Apple declined to comment on why it removed the app, but a Sp0n spokeswoman said, “The team is working with Apple to resolve the issue and they are confident the app will be made available in the near future. Vigilante will introduce an Android version of the app in the upcoming weeks with plans to expand in additional cities later this year.”
Following yesterday’s release of the first iOS 10.2 developer beta, Apple has now released a public beta version of iOS 10.2 through its Apple Software Beta Program. The iOS 10.2 public beta notably adds the full Unicode 9.0 emoji approved earlier this year, along with a new Preserve Settings feature that allows users to determine whether modes, filters, and Live Photo settings in the Camera app persist across launches or reset to default values. iOS 10.2 also adds three new wallpapers for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users, a new widget for the Videos app, new “Press and Hold to Speak” options under Accessibility settings, star-based ratings support in the iOS 10.2 Music app, and new Activity reporting in the Health app for Apple Watch users. Users who have already signed up for the Apple Software Beta Program should be able to log in and download the new versions now; users who haven’t signed up can do so at the same site.
Foxconn is in the process of building wireless charging modules for at least some of next year’s iPhone models, Nikkei Asian Review reports. An industry source familiar with the matter said Foxconn is building the modules specifically for use with an iPhone, but couldn’t say if the wireless charging feature will be in all the 2017 iPhones or exclusive to certain models. The source also said inclusion of wireless charging will be contingent on Foxconn being able to “boost the yield rate to a satisfactory level later on” — implying that the company is currently struggling to make enough successful units in each batch to make the process profitable.
Apple may drop the price of Apple Music’s monthly subscriptions by as much as 20 percent, Digital Music News reports. Two non-Apple sources who have been working closely with Apple Music since its launch said the changes are “under serious discussion” and could happen as soon as Christmas. The company would likely have to pay the difference to major recording labels—just like Amazon is doing with its Prime Music service—but the move could help Apple undercut competitors like Spotify, which charges $10 a month for subscriptions and likely couldn’t afford to further subsidize a price cut.
Apple has released iTunes 12.5.3, fixing an issue where albums play in an unexpected order, resolving problems that kept lyrics from displaying while listening to Beats 1, and making other minor bug fixes. Yesterday, Apple also released iOS 10.1.1 and beta versions of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1 and watchOS 3.1.1.
Apple has released the first betas for iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. This follows today’s earlier public release of iOS 10.1.1.
Apple has released iOS 10.1.1 to the public today, providing a number of bug fixes — most notably, a fix for users who couldn’t view Health data in iOS 10.1. The update comes just one week after the release of iOS 10.1, which added the beta version of Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, transit support in Maps, new wheelchair tracking workout summary information in Activity for Apple Watch users, and improved Bluetooth connectivity.
In an announcement on its developer website, Apple confirmed that it is now allowing developers to send a limited number of promo codes out from iTunes Connect to give away in-app purchases to select users. Developers can now send up to 100 promo codes for any single in-app purchase item, and up to 1,000 promo codes total per app. The move is aimed at allowing “press and influencers” to gain free access to items and features that are usually behind an app’s paywall.
Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu claims that Apple will switch to OLED screens for future iPhone models, Nikkei Asian Review reports. Tai—who is also an executive at Apple supplier and manufacturing partner FoxConn—told a group of students at Tatung University, “The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) to OLED panels. We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis, but it is also an opportunity.”
During today’s event in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a new TV app for the Apple designed to provide a unified TV experience with a central launch screen for all movies and TV shows across multiple content apps such as iTunes, HBO NOW, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and more. Expected to be available in the U.S. in December as part of a tvOS update, the new TV app will provide a “Watch Now” screen showing a play queue of recently watched TV series’, unfinished movies, and recommended content based on what the viewer has previously watched. A “Library” screen will provide unified access to the user’s purchased iTunes Movies and TV Shows, and a “Store” section provides access to iTunes content, as well as directly downloading other content provider apps from within the TV app. During the demonstration, Apple TV team member Jennifer Folds also hinted that the promised Single Sign-on feature for third-party apps would likely be available around the same time that the TV app launches in December. Apple is also bringing the new TV app to the iPhone and iPad, allowing users to see the same content index and view content across all of their devices.
Elgato has announced Eve Light Switch ($50), a new product in the company’s Eve lineup of HomeKit-enabled products. Eve Light Switch is the world’s first standalone HomeKit-enabled light switch, and it can be used with Siri or HomeKit in any single or multi-bulb lighting setup. The new accessory replaces a standard single pole switch and uses Bluetooth LE to communicate with nearby iOS and Apple TV devices for remote HomeKit access and Siri voice control. Eve Light Switch is unique from other HomeKit-enabled light switch solutions in that it’s a standalone switch that does not require a bridge or hub to communicate with HomeKit. It features a clean, white wall plate for a minimalist modern look, and uses a captive touch sensor for manual lighting control. Eve Light Switch notably does not provide dimming, although the company notes that it can be paired with a HomeKit-enabled Philips Hue system for this purpose.
Apple’s AirPods, the wireless W1-aided earphones which debuted at the company’s September event, apparently won’t be released in “late October” after all. Though Apple’s website still gives that time frame as of this writing, TechCrunch reports that the earphones aren’t ready for market. “The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. The report notes that no timeline was given for their availability — so we can only speculate on just how long “a little more time” will be.
Three new iPhone 8 models set to be released next year could feature all-glass backs, Nikkei Asian Review reports. An industry source said the phones are likely to feature glass front and back pieces produced by China’s Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology, with the glass pieces held together by a metal frame. “Apple has tentatively decided that all the 5.5-inch, 5-inch and 4.7-inch models will have glass backs, departing from metal casings adopted by current iPhones, and Biel and Lens are likely to be providing all the glass backs for the new iPhones next year,” the source said.
An Apple TV app set to be announced Thursday will help users find new shows based on what they already like, USA Today reports. Sources said the app has been referred to as “the Watch List” in discussions with network executives, and it will recommend shows based on what viewers are accessing with their Apple TV. The move could be a boon for networks looking to adapt to a digital marketplace where they can’t simply schedule a new show next to an established hit to get their audience to give it a try.
Apple’s German website now features a support page explaining how to use Apple Pay, but the mobile payment service still hasn’t debuted in the country. Rumors about an impending Apple Pay launch in Germany started over the weekend, when a Reddit user unearthed several hints on Apple’s website, including a map that showed Germany highlighted alongside other Apple Pay countries. The new page wasn’t taken down after it was discovered, but it also doesn’t look like it’s complete, with the images featuring bank logos and user locations that are displayed on the U.S. version of the site.
Kicking off Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of quarterly numbers for Q4 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the quarterly results were strong and near the top of the guidance that Apple provided for the quarter. Cook said that the iPhone continues to see year-over-year improvements compared to the last two quarters, and that iPhone sales are up year-over-year in 33 of the top 40 markets where the iPhone is sold. Fiscal 2016 also saw more customers switching from Android to iPhone than ever before, Cook said, and Apple saw a record-setting quarter for services, with revenue growth accelerating to 24 percent, reaching 6.3 billion dollars, with Apple Music doing particularly well. Cook noted that Apple Pay recently launched in Japan, Russia, and New Zealand and will be coming to Spain in the next few months; Apple Pay volume is up 500 percent year-over-year and in fact September saw more Apple Pay transactions than all of fiscal year 2015 put together. Cook also spoke about the release of iOS 10, hailing many of the new features but notably pointing out that Apple has seen a “marked increase” in iMessage users since the release of iOS 10, likely due to the new features available in the Messages app. Cook also touched on HomeKit, noting that we can expect over one hundred HomeKit-compatible products to be on the market by the end of this year, all reviewed and approved by Apple to help ensure customer security when using them.
Apple reported its fourth quarter 2016 financial results today, with 45.5 million iPhones and 9.2 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $46.9 billion and quarterly net income of $9 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share. In Q4 2015, Apple had revenue of $51.5 billion and net income of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.9 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 62 percent of this quarter’s revenue.
For Q1 2017, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $76 billion and $78 billion, and gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website. We’ll have a recap shortly after.
Apple has reportedly hired two dozen engineers from BlackBerry’s QNX division to work on its new car operating system, Bloomberg reports. The engineers comprise part of a larger team based at an Apple office in Ottawa, Canada — about a five-minute walk from QNX headquarters. Apple was said to have targeted QNX employees specifically due to their experience in developing key components of operating systems and power management. The car operating system group is one of multiple teams working on various components of Apple’s Project Titan software, including a team working on the autonomous driving components for self-driving cars, and others working on heads-up display features, and a simulation group developing VR to test self-driving features. BlackBerry’s QNX unit currently maintains the operating system software used in more than 60 million cars, mostly for “infotainment” systems, although the company noted in January that it has also been working on building its operating system as a foundation for autonomous driving software.
Apple has released the PowerBeats3 Wireless earphones ($200), the company’s second W1-chip-equipped set of headphones. The earphones include “Fast Fuel” charging, which the company claims provides a full hour of playback from a 5-minute charge. On a full charge the earphones boast 12 hours of playback and can be instantly linked to an iPhone by powering them on and holding them near the device (provided the phone is running iOS 10). The earphones can also be simultaneously synced to an Apple Watch running watchOS 3, an iPad running iOS 10, or a Mac running macOS Sierra, provided the user is also linked to an iCloud account.